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How IVC Filters Work

The inferior vena cava is the largest vein in the body. It moves de-oxygenated blood from the lower legs to the heart and then to the lungs. Doctors implant an IVC filter in the vein to prevent blood clots from traveling through the vein into the lungs.

Using a catheter, or a thin tube, a doctor inserts the device into a patient’s inferior vena cava through a small incision in the neck or groin. The device’s metal wires capture and trap blood clots before they can reach the lungs.

Some filters are permanent, and some are retrievable or temporary. Doctors remove retrievable filters in a similar way that they implant them. Health care providers inject contrast or X-ray dye around the device to make sure it is safe to proceed with the removal. A catheter-like snare goes into the vein and grabs the hook located at the end of the filter. A sheath covers the filter, and the doctor pulls the device out of the vein.

Instances in Which Doctors May Recommend Using an IVC Filter:

  • Car accidents
  • Voluntary or emergency surgeries
  • Gunshot or stabbing injuries
  • Dialysis treatment
  • Patients who are immobile
  • Patients who just had a baby
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Cancer diagnosis or treatment
  • Serious falls

IVC Filter Complications

IVC filters have the potential to migrate away from their surgically positioned location, rendering them ineffective. Sometimes the device itself punctures a vein, causing bleeding and other complications. Broken pieces of filters can travel through the blood and lodge in other organs, such as the heart. Retrievable filters in particular are associated with potential risks, like damaging veins and failing to stop blood clots from bypassing the device.

IVC filter complications typically fall into three categories: procedural, delayed and retrieval.

Devices Named in Lawsuits Include:

  • Cook Celect filter
  • Cook Günther Tulip filter
  • Bard Recovery filter
  • Bard G2 filter
  • Bard G2 Express filter
  • Boston Scientific Greenfield filter

Contact an Attorney

If you know you have one of the above named devices and have suffered from complications related to an IVC filter, please call Bighorn Law today and talk to a lawyer for free.

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